Armageddon Expo bans AI art from all its upcoming events in Aotearoa

Organisers of the Armageddon Expo have banned all Artificial Intelligence-created art from their events, including the Wintergeddon festival that takes place in Auckland this King's Birthday weekend.

The ban was originally put in place in December, but with thousands expected to head to the ASB Showgrounds, those in charge want to ensure anyone paying for artistic merchandise is getting the real deal.

The issue has raised its head again recently after National Party leader Christopher Luxon defended his party's decision to use artificial intelligence to create fake photos for its political attack ads on social media.

Armageddon organiser Bill Geradts told Newshub that specifically was one of the reasons they wanted to reiterate the ban ahead of their biggest event.

"It's been interesting watching some of the National Party stuff with AI and just some general discussions about that use of AI technology," he said.

"But this thing I can see being highly problematic as it gets better as it develops. It's something we're sort of drawing a line in early so that we are bracing for it later."

Geradts also said with live animation artists meeting fans at their event, they wanted to ensure those livelihoods were protected as well.

"The artist community pretty much knows who's creating, who's not. So if something pops up, people have to agree that they're not breaching our terms and conditions. If we find out that they are and we can prove it, then they're out on their ear."

He says it's not about being a killjoy, but merely protecting a portion of their target audience.

"The technology at the moment is the worst it's ever going to be, it's only going to get better from here. At the moment, there's a level of artificiality to it that you can tell when you see it. This is just the tip of a very deep iceberg that if you don't start acting now, that's not something  you want. If you give it free reign, then you're going to have genuine issues."

Armageddon guest and actress Caity Lotz backs the stance. She's attending the festival for the first time from her native San Diego.

But she told Newshub it was already a big issue in Hollywood, with many concerned that it was basically "stealing."

"That's the crazy thing with it - with artwork or even with writing, it's not creating new stuff. It's stealing... It's doing what other people have already done. 

"The fact you could probably soon ask a machine to 'write me a script about, you know, a happy couple in New Zealand in the style of Judd Apatow' [is worrying]. 

"It's like Judd Apatow is not getting paid to do it, but stealing his work and the way that it just pulls from everything to make it. For a lot of those artists that come to these Comic-Con events and do these amazing, amazing pieces, and then if I could just kind of steal that stuff - I think that's a big issue for sure," she said.

Auckland Armageddon takes place at ASB Showgrounds from June 3 to June 5.